SBy LEON SHIMER
Times-Union Staff Wrilter
ST. AUGUSTINE A 19th
century general store is now
open here as the latest project
of the St. Augustine Restora-
tion Commission in its'quest'
to visually bring the, old city
back to its living past.
The Benet Store, which
opened Friday complete with
Christmas candy imported
from Spain, stands on the cor-
ner of -Cuna and St. George
Streets in the heart of the res-
toration area. Officials of the
commission have been work-
ing for sometime in gathering
items to stock the shelves and
sell to visitors.
The shelves are neatly lined
with items ranging from pigs
*feet to black ollyes packed in
olive oil. Other items include
genuine saffron, jams, jellies,
relishes,- black bean soup,
cooking wine and stuffed
squid. I I
Barrels of potatoes and on-
,,ions plus a basket full of
'-Spanish bread, baked in the
commission's own bakery,
adds to the atmosphere of the
old general store.
"Chorizo" (sausage) and
hams hang from the exposed
beams of the store for display
'purpose s. Other displays
around the store include
crocks full of beans and peas
MRS. KISER SLICES IMPORTED CHEESE STOCKED
Customer Is Asst. Restoration Director Bradley Brewer
and an old-time grocery scale. and aided in restoring the in- Newton said that the com-
Mrs. Rita O'Brien, program terior of the store. Both still mission is attempting to show
assistant, said that a majority live in St. Augustine. aspects of late colonial life
of the items would be sold. The reconstructed building when the town was becoming
,Additional store items are consists of two rooms down- more American. The objective
'yard goods, thimbles, thread, stairs with an efficiency is to have the store function
lace and ribbons. .apartment on 'the second as a store with the kind of items
Restoration director Earle floor. One entire wall and part which would have been sold
Newton secured a store interi- of another have been built during that period. He added
or in Mexico and brought it with old coquina rock uncov- that the commission is limited
here. The interior includes a ered when the land was since a large number of items
post office, which will be used cleared for the project. are not obtainable today.
to wrap and stamp packages Restoration assistant direc- The store, managed by Mrs.
for the visitor. The interior is tor Bradley Brewer said that Jeanne Kiser, will be open
complete with counters and officials of the commission from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
cabinets. had estimated that the Benet The Christmas spirit is
The reconstruction of the Grocery was constructed dur- prevalent in the restoration
Benet Store is the culmination ing the second Spanish.period area. The cabinet shop just
of historical research from around 1800. Brewer said that across the street from the
pictures, foundations and' in- the commission has been un- store has a nativity scene,
terviews, with two of the able to determine the exact constructed in the shop.
daughters of .the last operator 'date of construction. I On down the street a large
of the grocery.. Newton said that it is. the : nativity scene has been set up
Miss Carmen 1 Benet and belief of the commission that complete with a live burro.
Mrs. Rena Hass, daughters of the store was operated by the The burro has just-been added
the late Joseph Ravina Benet, Benet family while .it was in to a menagerie which includes
recalled memories of the past operation, two goats and a mynah bird.
century Store Adds